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Meet Shwetak Patel, 2011 MacArthur Fellow

Shwetak Patel wants to help you conserve energy in your home. A professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, Patel is also a 2011 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship (also known as the “Genius Grant“) for his work developing sophisticated, user-friendly energy sensors for homes and offices.

Patel’s unique technology uses advanced algorithms to determine how much energy each household device is consuming by picking up their individual activity patterns.

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Solar Decathalon 2011 Powers Up

Amanda Crosby, right, and Belinda Dods of New Zealand celebrate placing the final screw on the deck of their house

What does it take to build a solar village, where homes not only are designed to create more energy than they use but are comfortable and cool to look at, too? Some 19 student teams from U.S. and international colleges found out this past weekend as they began installing their entries to the 2011 Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The answer: lots of hands-on work involving hammers, wrenches, plumbing, and construction cranes.

The flurry of activity capped the students’ two-year effort to prepare for the competition (we covered the 2009 one here), which this year takes place from September 23 to October 2.

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Lonnie T. Parker, IV


Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Electrical & Computer Engineering

“After an introductory summer engineering program at Georgia Tech my junior year of high school, I knew engineering would be my major. My academic path has been very diverse…It was not until I considered graduate school and my current work designing intelligent robotic surveyor systems for unexplored terrain that a special, lasting interest was formed.”

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The World’s Sweetest Printer

Researchers at Britain’s University of Exeter have developed a 3-D printer that Willy Wonka would die for. Instead of using metals or plastics as its “ink,” Exeter’s uses chocolate.

Sometimes called additive manufacturing, 3-D printing technologies work off a three-dimensional CAD design of a product, then construct the item by laying down one very thin layer of material at a time. But this is the first time researchers have used chocolate as a medium.

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Fasten Your Seat Belts

space

New spacecraft will soon be fulfilling tourists’ astronautical dreams.

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